'I just can't see any flaws in him'
Bharathi S Pradhan
I first saw Hrithik as a friend's son. I've known Rakesh Roshan for over 20 years now. I've always respected and liked him, because I've seen him go through the struggle and then make it finally.
When you are witness to somebody's struggle and then you see him overcome all the obstacles, you feel closer to that person. Especially since he has treated us journalists so well.
Because Rakesh was launching his son, I went to meet him. That time, of course, nobody knew who Hrithik was. I saw some song sequences from Kaho Naa...Pyaar Hai and I thought Hrithik was good in them. But I didn't know that he would be this good, because you can't really tell from just song sequences.
When I came back, I did a cover story on him and Abhishek Bachchan, and named it 'Roshan versus Bachchan'. That night, Rakesh called me up and he was so excited! He said, 'Bharati, what have you done? Everyone is talking about Hrithik!' Till then, nobody was talking about Hrithik.
After that, I saw the film. This was much before it was released. And that was when I realised that this boy would really make it big!
He has everything a star would wish for. He is a terrific actor, looker, dancer and extremely professional. He can even emote very well. He's got it all!
I mean, you can find faults with most of the stars.
Take Shah Rukh for an example. He's also got everything going for him. But you can always say that he's neither a great dancer nor a great looker. He too is a great actor and also very professional, but there can always be a 'but' attached to his name.
Even Govinda. He's a great actor, but he's so chubby. And Salman is too short. You can have a 'but' against most names.
But I can't find any 'buts' against Hrithik's name. I just can't see any flaws in him.
At the Mukti AIDS Foundation concert recently, there were many stars on stage, in one capacity or the other. Either to dance or sing or just to say something. And I felt that Hrithik was easily the best among them all. He spoke so intelligently.
It's not that Hrithik and I are very close to each other or that he confides in me. I haven't even been invited to his wedding. But objectively speaking, Hrithik is very different from the other stars. And I hope to God that he remains what he is. Because if he does, there's no stopping him!
In fact, he's the best thing that has happened to the film industry after Amitabh Bachchan!
Fiza and Mission Kashmir did not do well because they were shoddily made films. In fact, I feel that Khalid Mohammad and Vidhu Vinod Chopra are flukes! They've got a big name, but no substance in their films. Hrithik is too good and in no way responsible for the flops. The film-makers are to blame all the way.
No amount of setbacks at the box office will affect Hrithik's rating as a star. The reason is simple. There is no one in his age group who can even come close to him. The stars who enjoy that status are Shah Rukh and Amitabh and they belong to another generation.
I don't think Hrithik would remain normal after some time with the success he's seeing. I think any person would go lunatic with this kind of success. But that is just human nature. I wouldn't blame him if he did change. But so far, he hasn't.
Of course, the circumstances have definitely changed. The security around them has increased. They have to be more secretive also. But as people, the Roshan family has remained the same.
I think this is the right time for marriage. Because marriage has never affected the star status of any star especially a male. Amitabh Bachchan got married a few days after Zanjeer was released and he climbed the ladder of success even faster.
On the contrary, if Hrithik didn't marry Suzanne and kept her dangling, his fans would be disappointed. The fact that he has always been open about her has added to the 'niceness' that the fans see in him.
His marriage will not even affect his fan following. Look at Amitabh Bachchan. He's become a grandfather now. But he still has a large fan following.
Marriage will make Hrithik more secure. Now he can concentrate fully on his career as his emotional anchor is set. I think the period of dithering is worse than taking a decision and carrying it through. So now that he has Suzanne by his side, he need not worry about emotional support.
In fact, I think his marriage will affect the box office also in a positive way. It will not make any dent to his box office status. He's got the best banners backing him. You just can't go wrong with these banners. He's got Rakesh Roshan, Yash Chopra, Karan Johar, Sooraj Barjatya and Subhash Ghai behind him.
The wedding is being hushed for two reasons. Firstly, since the Roshans know so many people in the film industry and even media people, they will have an impossible time trying to control the crowds. People might try to gate crash the wedding too.
Secondly, the family is facing a lot of trouble from the underworld goons. You just can't have a wedding for 10,000 people anymore. I'm not talking in terms of money, but in terms of the problems that arise from the underworld. And we all know that they have targeted the family for a long time.
Bharati S Pradhan is managing editor, Movie magazine. She spoke to Ronjita Das